Understanding GHS (Part 2)

Yesterday we defined the GHS and explained why OSHA decided to adopt it in Understanding GHS (Part 1). Today we are going to look at the timeline for phasing in GHS as well as understanding what the major changes are going to be.

GHS phase-in timeline
December 1, 2013 – employees need to have completed the training on the new labels and MSDS.
June 1, 2015 – Compliance with all modified provisions for anything being produced by manufacturers, importers and distributors of chemicals.
December 1, 2015 – Nothing is shipped without the new GHS labels and MSDS (the period between June 1 and December 1 is intended to allow for the clearing out of old stock that might not yet have the new GHS data).
June 1, 2016 – Every place of business that uses chemicals should be compliant with GHS.

Major Changes
Hazard Classification – This is perhaps the big change. The GHS establishes specific criteria for the classification of health hazards. It gives clear hazard classes and categories that clearly outline the severity of the effect.
Labels – The labels will have signal words, pictograms and hazard statements for each hazard class and category. There are nine pictograms and hazards. The following table from the OSHA website that outlines the new GHS breaks it down best:

HCS Pictograms and Hazards

Health Hazard
Exclamation Mark
Reproductive Toxicity
Respiratory Sensitizer
Target Organ Toxicity
Aspiration Toxicity
Emits Flammable Gas
Organic Peroxides
Irritant (skin and eye)
Skin Sensitizer
Acute Toxicity (harmful)
Narcotic Effects
Respiratory Tract Irritant
Hazardous to Ozone Layer
(Non Mandatory)
Gas Cylinder
Exploding Bomb
Gases under Pressure Skin Corrosion/ burns
Eye Damage
Corrosive to Metals
Organic Peroxides
Flame over Circle
(Non Mandatory)
Skull and Crossbones
Oxidizers Aquatic Toxicity Acute Toxicity (fatal or toxic)

Safety Data Sheets – Finally, the safety data sheet will have 16 specific sections to it. These are:

Section 1. Identification
Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients
Section 4. First-Aid measures
Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
Section 6. Accidental release measures
Section 7. Handling and storage
Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
Section 10. Stability and reactivity
Section 11. Toxicological information
Section 12. Ecological information
Section 13. Disposal considerations
Section 14. Transport information
Section 15. Regulatory information
Section 16. Other information, including date of preparation or last revision

Check back on Monday when we’ll continue looking at the GHS.